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Orchid gives up the secrets of its success

From BBC - September 13, 2017

The orchid is known for its beauty and once changed hands for vast sums.

Now, scientists are gaining an insight into how the plant prized for its beauty colonised almost every habitat on Earth.

A team in China has unpicked the genetic blueprint of an orchid that grows wild in the mountains of southeast China.

The orchid in question, from the subfamily, Apostasiodea, split off from modern species millions of years ago.

Researchers led by the Orchid Conservation and Research Centre of Shenzhen sequenced the genome of the orchid and compared it with more modern species.

The data, published in the journal, Nature, "provides a reference for studying orchid evolution" and suggests distinctive features found only in orchids played a key role "in the tremendous radiation of the group", they say.

The orchid is one of the biggest families of flowering plants. Many are grown for their beautiful flowers, while others are of economic importance, such as the source of the food flavouring, vanilla.

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